Jailing of young activists
Three young Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were handed jail sentences last week for their illegal actions, not their beliefs. But as they were leaders of a movement that has been driven by students and under-30s, the tougher sentences that had been sought by the Department of Justice have also been viewed by some as an affront to the hopes and aspirations of younger generations. Top officials have since been at pains to reassure, pledging that the government’s youth policies are unchanged. There has to be a broadening and strengthening of that engagement.
The trio, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, 20, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, 24, and Alex Chow Yong-kang, 27, perfectly fit the demographic of Hong Kong’s population that has in recent years been expressing pessimism about the future. High among their worries are economic opportunities, job mobility, widening inequality and unaffordable home prices. Having a greater say in their destiny through a political voice was seen by some as a solution, and the student leaders seized on that to push an agenda centred on protest and occupation of public spaces.